Back pain – self-care and prevention

Even in the course of your everyday life, there are a number of precautions and preventive measures you can follow to avoid causing a strain on your back (though professional advice is strongly recommended as well).

Preventive Measures

  1. Remember not to bend while trying to lift something from the ground. Instead, try to bend your knees and squat to pick an object. Keeping the back straight, hold the object close to your body and then try to lift it up.
  2. While moving heavy objects, try to push instead of pull.
  3. Take frequent breaks to stretch if you need to sit at your desk or drive for longer durations of time.
  4. Follow a regular regiment for exercise as a sedentary and inactive lifestyle contributes to low back pain substantively.

Curative Measures

  1. Remain as active as possible during the course of low back pain. Prolonged periods of bed rest have been known to be a causative factor of low back pain.
  2. Follow a home exercise program soon after the initial pain has subsided.
  3. Use a heat pad or ice pack (whichever helps you the most) to relieve your pain, especially in the first few weeks.
  4. Lumbar supports such as back support, corsets and braces might also be helpful in alleviating pain.
  5. Try to sleep with a pillow placed between or under your knees.
  6. During an attack of acute back pain, try to practice deep breathing. Rhythmic and slow breathing calms the mind, allowing the body to enter into a more relaxed state.
  7. Try to perform light stretching exercises several times a day.
  8. (A bonus point for over 60s): “Little and often” is a good mantra – move a little and as often as possible, within tolerable levels of pain. This helps the body recover faster.
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Note: Experts strongly warn about creating an undue stressful environment in context to your low back pain. Worrying in excess over how bad your pain is, when it is going to heal and how much it is going to affect your efficiency will actually harm you all the more instead of offering any healing benefits.

 

The above is an extract from Kusal Goonewardena’s latest book, Back Pain: Rebuild, Recover, Revitalise, by Wilkinson Publishing